I am a prospective PhD applicant at a highly reputed department of an Ivy college. I have been in touch with one of the top profs in the department for the last one year and he has been supportive of me. Even though I was rejected last year, he offered me an internship but due to the pandemic it was scrapped. Now I mailed him highlighting what I have been upto and he mailed me and the grad committee head prof that I would be an idea student in his group and if the head could help me with my application. I don't have the perfect background for the department but I have an ideal background for his research group. I am assuming this is a very positive sign... am I reading too much into it?

Edit: He cc'ed the admissions committee head as well as the head of grad admin

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    If he emailed you back, cc’ing the head of the admissions committee, that he considers you a great fit for his group, then of course that can impact your chances of admission. The commission just needs to get to see your application before it matters. In the fields I’m familiar with, there are steps prior to that which are handled by non-academic admins (e.g., minimum GRE, your college grades, ...) to narrow the total number of applications down to a level the admissions committee can reasonably handle. Commented Oct 15, 2020 at 15:16

1 Answer 1


This would definitely help your chances, and in any case you should apply to preserve the relationship since this prof has gone to bat for you.

I would not see this as a guarantee, however, and I would continue to apply to other schools. I'm not 100% clear on the timeline, but it seems like this prof has already been unsuccessful in securing your admission once, so they may just not have enough power to get you admitted. It could be the case that admission decisions (especially at Ivy leagues) are done with more consideration for the student's impact on the department rather than on a specific research group. Also the politics here could be more complex than meets the eye.

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